Posted by: jeannineatkins | September 3, 2008

Going Forth

Yesterday at a meeting for new faculty at Mount Holyoke I sat beside a social theorist whose two-month-old was at the college daycare for the first time. “He’s a big baby,” she told me. “Really, that makes it better.”

“Yes, not tiny and squishy. He’s doing fine,” I said.

“Yes, yes, they’re wonderful there.”

“I bet they adore him.”


But as she occasionally pulled out her cell phone – can this baby text message? – my shoulders felt tense, too. How can we separate from those we love? Does this ever get easier? I guess it has to.

And she told me about how during her interview for the job, it was the students who were most probing, who had read her files so thoroughly and had challenging questions about her work. She was totally excited by that. I, too, am thrilled to get to hear passionate voices in a place where some of us are still going to feel a bit lost for a while. It’s called the first week of classes. I’m hoping for happy homes for freshmen in particular with just enough danger — with words, I’m thinking — to keep things exciting. (And wishing phone calls for the moms, though, face it, there can never be enough.)



  1. This must be such a different-feeling year for you, teaching again with your daughter starting out in her own classes, own new place. The young mom was lucky to have her near you. 🙂

  2. You will LOVE it Jeannine! MHC students are the BEST!

  3. Well empty nest does feel a bit less empty after the first tough months. But .. I was starting to want to run over to the daycare almost as much as she was. Just for a peek.

  4. Thanks, Jo. I hear such great, great things, I can’t wait. I came home yesterday and told Peter they gave me a car sticker, a flash drive, and even a chip for a cup of free coffee at the library, and this all happened in hours. Hey, I can be bought and I’m onboard. I’ve still got not academic errands to do at UMass though I started last week, and this is after a few years there.
    I look forward to hearing how your classes go! They will love you!

  5. Very cool! They’re lucky to have you.

  6. Thanks, Cindy. Best wishes for your week.

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